Maybe I'm back
After a long break, I'm now able to return to blogging, I hope ...
I don't want to bore you all with my baking problems (although I did with some of you, my "baking friends" ... you know Shiao-Ping!?), but I have to share with you what I think I've learned.
First I'll show you my last (I should say my first) sourdough loaf after a full month of bread thrashing.
[The crumb - a half]
[The crumb - the other half]
Here my notes:
- Use a good oven. My oven is really "cooked" (I showed it in THIS post), now even more than ever. Can I say I HATE it? It's crazy, about 50°C hotter in the back. Then, the temperature goes up and down and when it goes up the top heating element is incandescent.
- Steam. The first half of the baking is crucial. An efficient steaming method must be used. I switched from my pre-heated clay pot to a not pre-heated stainless boule (in my case just a big steel pot). This covered steaming method is the only one I can use and I found really important to use a not pre-heated cover - before it gets hot, it gives the bread the time to free the steam.
- Use a reasonably good flour.
- Take care of the levain. Try to use it at the peak or a bit before.
- Do not be a stupid house wife. First watch the dough than watch the clock.
- The wetter is NOT always the better. You have to master the process.
- Check your refrigerator. Find a spot that register the right temperature for cold proofing. It's easy to put the dough in a refrigerator that you think should be around 5°C and then you find that in the night it goes down to 2°C.
... that's the home baker life. Don't you think it's too easy to bake bread in a bakery where you have perfect flour, steamed deck oven, proofing cabinet, mixer ... ?
To do list:
- Work more on the previous notes.
- The subtle art of fermentation. One thing I have to better understand is what there's behind leaving, fermentation and dough ripening; and how to control these things. Maybe you think the bread I showed is ok ... absolutely not, I think it's mediocre: a plain, not so complex, full flavored bread.
The bread I baked was based on Shiao-Ping suggestions with the obvious adjustment you have to do every time you bake, with different ingredients and conditions: 85% bread flour, 10% whole wheat, 5% rye. 65% overall hydration. 25% prefermented flour (100% hydration white levain). Short mixing with S&F, 12h retarded at 5°C. I also used the "double flour addition" technique of SteveB (described HERE).
When I was shaping the loaf my sister was around in the kitchen and I asked her to touch the very puffy, smooth just shaped loaf. I loved the word she used - she said: oohh it's sooo (in Italian) bonzo.
And here, just for your fun (but do not joke about me too much!), I want to show you a loaf I thrashed ... I cannot show only good looking bread!